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PhD position in the Circular Economy Project on Developing Houseflies for Feed

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student who will contribute to an NWO-Circular Economy project to develop insects for feed. Housefly (Musca domestica) larvae are suggested to be a sustainable future protein source ...

8 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student who will contribute to an NWO-Circular Economy project to develop insects for feed. Housefly (Musca domestica) larvae are suggested to be a sustainable future protein source for diets of production animals (poultry, pigs, fish). These larvae have the capacity to develop on organic waste streams and thereby convert low value waste in a high value product. The consortium, consisting of five partners (Groningen University, Wageningen University, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amusca company, RIKILT) aims to obtain a better understanding of housefly biology to optimally exploit them for feed. We will investigate nutrient requirements and tolerances of the larvae, functioning of the digestive system, managing of protein and fat content, and population sex ratios to optimize mass culturing conditions on poultry manure.

The 4-yr PhD-position at the VU University Amsterdam is meant to develop a housefly strain that produces larvae with improved lipid characteristics that allow for a higher proportion of fly larvae in animal feed. The specific objectives are: (1) determine how lipid reserves develop across ontogenetic stages of larvae and pupae for the optimal time of harvest, (2) test rearing temperatures to optimise larval lipid quantity and composition, (3) explore natural variation in lipid dynamics to selectively breed a strain with improved lipid properties.


• MSc in Evolutionary biology or Ecology, or comparable, with relevant research experience;
• Experience with experimental laboratory work, selection experiments and insect culturing required;
• Strong scientific motivation is essential and affinity with insects and applied research a big plus;
• Proficiency with statistical approaches and use of R;
• Good social skills to work in a research team with external parties;
• Excellent English language proficiency both in speech and in writing.


The appointment will be initially for 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it can be extended for a total duration of 4 years. About 75% of the time is devoted to research, the remaining 25% to education and assistance in courses. The education program is organized by the national research school Production Ecology & Resource Conservation which offers a wide range of courses in scientific methodology and professional development.

You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at www.workingatvu.nl like:
• remuneration of 8,3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance
• a minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment;
• a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge.

Additional information

The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and ranges from a minimum of € 2222,00 gross per month up to a maximum of € 2840,00 gross per month based on fulltime employment (salary scale 85) for a PhD student.

For additional information please contact Prof. dr. J. Ellers.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Our university has ten faculties, and provides work for over 4,500 staff and scientific education for more than 23,000 students.

The Department of Ecological Science (DES) answers fundamental ecological and evolutionary questions regarding the relationship between organisms and their environment at the full array of hierarchical levels: from molecular ecology to ecosystem research. The department comprises a dynamic community of researchers and provides an excellent research environment with state-of-the-art facilities and high quality training.